The Broncos provided plenty of highlight-reel plays en route to 12 wins this season. Here are the five best:
5. Aqib Talib’s pick-6 vs. Bengals
Signed in the off-season as basically Champ Bailey’s replacement, the 2013 Pro Bowler added another Pro Bowl season this year. He had four interceptions in his first season with the Broncos, including two returned for touchdowns. Against the Bengals, he dove to grab a tipped pass inches before it hit the ground, got up and took it back for a touchdown.
4. DeMarcus Ware’s “spin sack” vs. 49ers
Another big off-season signing, Ware had 10 sacks in his first season in Denver after nine seasons in Dallas, the most memorable coming against Joe Staley and the 49ers. Ware started a spin move, got Staley completely turned around, and proceeded untouched to sack Colin Kaepernick. Ware is now 14th on the NFL’s all-time sacks list with 127 and, this year, playing opposite of Von Miller, the duo combined for more sacks (24) than three NFL teams had total (Atlanta, Oakland, Cincinnati).
3. Emmanuel Sanders’ one-handed catch vs. Bengals
Sanders validated the Broncos’ decision to let Eric Decker leave with a breakout year with the Broncos. He had more than 100 catches and more than 1,400 yards this season. Both he and Demaryius Thomas were in the NFL’s top five in both categories. Sanders had several highlight-reel grabs, but his best was probably his one-hander against Cincinnati, despite pass interference from the Bengals defender.
2. C.J. Anderson’s 51-yard catch and run TD vs. Raiders
Anderson became the Broncos go-to back in the second half of the season after injuries to Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman. He had almost 1,200 all-purpose yards and 10 TDs in really only eight games. His breakout game came in Oakland, when he one-handed a screen pass from Peyton Manning, made half a dozen Raiders miss and scored his first TD of the season.
1. Peyton Manning’s 509th TD vs. 49ers
Manning was on “record watch” from the start of the season, and in prime time against San Francisco, he broke Brett Favre’s career record of 508 TDs. Manning’s record now sits at 530 (and counting next season?) but 509 was a special moment for Manning and the Broncos.